Beginning in 2015, Seattle residents might see a big change in how they’re represented in city government. A proposal that is likely to make the ballot this fall would create a hybrid system with seven geographical districts and one councilmember representing each. Two council seats would remain at-large.
Currently, Seattle voters elect nine at-large councilmembers who represent the entire city, and that’s fairly unusual. For cities with more than 500,000 residents, only Detroit, Mich. and Columbus, Ohio currently have at-large city council systems. So what are the arguments for creating a hybrid system? What are the arguments for keeping things the same?
David Hyde talks to Eugene Wasserman, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association and campaign coordinator for Seattle Districts Now, an organization proposing its own map of districts. David also hears from former city councilmember Jim Street and University of North Carolina government professor Kimberly Nelson.
The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal to publicly fund council campaigns through a new property tax levy. Supporters say using public funds strengthens our democracy by allowing candidates to focus on important issues, not just the issues of big donors. Opponents say public financing in other cities hasn’t made races more competitive or lessened the power of incumbents. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is sponsoring the public financing legislation and joins us today.
You may know that Jean Godden has served on Seattle’s City Council for the last 10 years. Before that she worked as a journalist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times. But you may not have heard that before age 17, Godden lived in over 100 different towns. As part of The Conversation’s feature interview series, Ross Reynolds chats with Godden about her life and work.
Seattle Parks Plan Seattle officials want to hear from you about the future of the city’s parks. They're holding meetings this month to get public input on a parks plan that will guide where the city directs its resources in the years to come. We hear more from City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.
Art Of Our City A new live music and film project explores the line between ambition and bad luck as it applied to the Donner Party. "We Are All Failing Them" is a new commission by Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum (teaser below). It’s a song cycle performed live to film. We talk with composer Robin Holcomb about the latest venture in her wide-ranging career.
Neal Thompson On Robert “Believe It Or Not!” Ripley A 1936 newspaper poll declared Robert Ripley the most popular man in America. How did a young, awkward newspaper cartoonist become a worldwide adventurer synonymous with the strange and unusual? Official Ripley biographer Neal Thompson joins us.